If you want successful kids, help them cultivate their sense of self-worth
Your children are your most precious asset. Helping them find joy in life and building their self-esteem and sense of self-worth is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Here are nine ways to support your kids and help them be their best selves.
- Make it clear that your love is unconditional. Your kids need to know that whether or not they make mistakes, you'll love them the same. Let them know this by what you say and how you act.
- Avoid lectures and saying, "I told you so." You don't like being lectured and neither do kids. Work to find more effective ways to teach your children.
- Validate how the child is feeling and show empathy. Their perception is real to them. Don't try to convince them otherwise, but support them in finding new perspectives. Validation creates trust and trust makes it easier to help them.
- Value perseverance and effort over outcomes. Be mindful about what you praise and recognize. Outcomes can be important, but it's more important to let your kids know you're happy with their effort and perseverance - not matter the outcome. If they're willing to try new things, even if they don't work and even if they make mistakes, they deserve recognition.
- Be comforting without rescuing. Recognize and be mindful of your own anxieties or needs. Does the situation ever become more about you and less about your child? Are you worrying more about how this will reflect on you and less about what this will mean for your child? Be there to comfort them, but don't feel like they always need to be rescued. Experience and learning comes from working through challenging situations.
- Allow for natural consequences. This helps kids to develop resilience and capability. You're preparing your kids for life and life will come with an unending supply of natural consequences. It is better that they learn how to cope and overcome discouragement and failure now, while they're young and have a strong support group.
- Keep the conversation brief, and don't feel the need to fix it or tackle it all at once. Kids will learn, but they won't learn it all at once. It takes time and it takes experience. Help them move forward one step at a time. Give them the opportunity to digest and internalize before moving on to the next step.
- Give them jobs so they find evidence of their worth and can master their skills. Do you know what talents and skills your children have? More importantly, do they know? Give them experiences that help them discover what they are good at. Help them feel the joy of creating great work and mastering skills.
- Lead by example. Use affirming, assertive, and honest statements when you speak about yourself. Your kids don't always listen to what you say, but they are always watching what you do. Be consistent in what you teach and then apply those teachings in your own life.
Parents play an essential role in the development of their children, especially in their pre-teen and teen years - make the most of it!